When HB-AZI – the first E195-E2 for Helvetic Airways lands at Zurich Airport later today, it will make Helvetic the first and only airline to operate both E190-E2 and the E195-E2 in its fleet. The Swiss regional airline inducted its first E195-E2 yesterday in a small ceremony held at São José dos Campos, Brazil. This is the first of the four E195-E2s which the airline has on order.
Embraer’s E195-E2 entered service with Azul in September 2019. The other operators of the type are Air Peace of Nigeria, Spanish airline Binter, KLM Affiliate KLM Cityhopper and more recently Belavia. Helvetic joins this small grouping with the first commercial flight scheduled on July 10, 2021 between Basel and Santorini, Greece.
Helvetic Airways is unique since it operates flights of its own and also on behalf of Swiss. In the past the airline has had a similar deal with Lufthansa. The airline started operations in 2003 with Fokker 100 aircraft and subsequently started its shift towards the Embraer family in 2014. The airline has configured its E195-E2 with 134 seats.
The airline had inducted its first E190-E2 in October 2019, when it said that it expected a reduction in fuel consumption per seat by 17.3% over the E190s which the airline has in its fleet. The orders for 12 aircraft with 12 options were placed in 2018. THe E195-E2 cuts fuel consumption by 25% over the E195s and in a country like Switzerland which has strict regulations around noise control, the reduction in noise footprint by 65% over its predecessor can have a large impact!
The pandemic and subsequent drop in traffic has led to a lot of airlines focusing on smaller jets. While Asian carriers have traditionally stayed away from the niche segment of Regional Jets, the last year saw a couple of carriers in Vietnam and Myanmar look for ways to induct the smaller jets in their fleet as they try to adjust the demand and supply.
India has not been able to attract a regional jet operator for a multitude of reasons. While there remains a good opportunity to have a business plan which is different from the biggies. News reports have indicated that regional carrier Trujet may be looking for the Embraer E2 as one of the options (other being A220) for its expansion. As it stands today, barring one all of its fleet is grounded and time will tell if it would move on to order and induct the smaller jets.